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Friday, September 12, 2008

inconsequential church

A Presbyterian pastor colleague posted a challenging and truth-full post on "church culture" that should pierce through our shells and awaken us to blindly and blithely we go about waiting for those outside the church to come to us... and we wonder why it doesn't happen. This piece reinforces the desperate need for us to become "searchlight" churches, and ones who grasp the great distance between church language and culture and that of the world around us.

Church World via A Church for Starving Artists by jledmiston on 9/12/08

M. and I were interviewed by our friend S. last night over dinner for a paper she's writing on particular cultures. She could pick any culture she wanted (think: bowling league culture, junior high girl culture, enlisted soldiers culture, etc.) She chose to analyze our particular congregation's culture.

Church World

Now that's a culture. And it's foreign to increasingly more people, at least around here.

There are so many catch phrases that we in the church know, but most in the world not only don't know but they couldn't care less.

Worship Wars
Circles
Bell Choir
More Light/Welcoming & Affirming [rma: or emergent... or confessing church... etc...]
Coffee Hour

If strangers come through our doors at all, imagine the culture they find. We hand them "bulletins." They call them "programs." We call it a "congregation." They call it "the audience."

My wonderful friend L. wrote this morning, that after a couple years away from "church" :

"It's difficult to convey just how completely inconsequential the world of the church is to those who aren't in it."

Yep.

So we can invest in new directional signs (like that would help. "They just can't find us!") Or we can start "a contemporary service." Or we can recruit "more families" or "more young people" to "join."

Or we can be the church out in the world. Do we even know how to do this? Have we ever known how to do this? Maybe not, because we've been so concerned with all those inconsequentials for so long.

Church World.

Anybody know what I'm talking about?

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